With the advent of music creation software like Garageband, BandLab, TikTok and more, the line between music fan and creator has never been blurrier. Lots of numbers have been tossed around out there as to how many people are real musicians, or music creators. Some are outdated, and others are defining “music creator” loosely.
This week, we will dive into the publicly available data we can find to come to a conclusion: How many music creators are really out there in 2023?
Let’s start with the basics, a simple google search reveals that:
“In 2023 there are +11 million artists on Spotify with an estimated 200,000 being professional artists and only 165,000 of them with a monthly listener count of 10,000 or higher.
This information was found on Spotify’s Loud & Clear website which showcases data that they have collected on all of the artists and music that is hosted on Spotify.” Source
Well, there you have it! Report over right? …nope.
As some of you may have forgotten, Spotify is only one piece of the industry, and not every artist distributes their music to Spotify, so these 11 Million artists that Spotify quotes are one chunk of a larger pie.
For example, BandLab, a leading music creation tool, has been cited saying they have +60M creators on their platform. Here you can see a huge disparity – a large reason for this being that there are many more steps to becoming a creator on Spotify. Typically more time spent on production, working with a distributor to get your music in on the first place, and having the knowledge to execute both of these in the first place.
What defines a music creator?
Before we can get to the real answer, we need to take one important step: what defines a music creator in 2023?
In 2023, a music creator can be defined as an individual or group actively engaged in the process of producing, composing, or performing music. They possess the ability to craft original melodies, lyrics, and harmonies, and have the necessary skills to arrange and record their music. A music creator embraces the role of both artist and craftsman, investing time, effort, and passion into the creation and expression of their unique musical compositions.
Music creators may utilize a variety of tools and technologies, including instruments, digital audio workstations, and music production software, to bring their artistic vision to life. In recent years, the landscape of music creation has undergone significant transformations, thanks to platforms like GarageBand and others, that offer assisted music creation features. These platforms have democratized the process, making it easier than ever for aspiring artists to enter the realm of music creation.
With the aid of built-in tools, pre-recorded samples, and intuitive interfaces, individuals can now create music with minimal technical knowledge or instrumental proficiency. While some may argue that this ease of access dilutes the traditional definition of a music creator, it is important to recognize that these platforms still enable individuals to express their creativity and contribute to the musical landscape.
Assisted music creation platforms provide a gateway for people who may not have had the opportunity or resources to pursue music creation through traditional means. They empower users to experiment – even if the process is simplified or streamlined, the act of assembling and arranging various musical elements still requires decision-making, artistic choices, and a creative vision – which fits into the definition of “Music Creator.”
So, how many are there?
A very interesting report comes to mind when researching: Audiomonitor Consumer insights from 40 nations, and more specifically the “Young populations dominate audio” article, where they explore the profound impact of the TikTok on music and the rise of audio creators, with a particular focus on younger populations in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Most interestingly, our attention goes to the chart they share, indicating people polled in each country that answer “yes” when asked if they “consider themselves a music creator.”
It’s important to highlight that allowing people to self-identify as a music creator can be considered more accurate than any estimate thrown out by different companies, because not all companies align on the same definition of music creator – and many simply equate that number to how many users they have in their ecosystem.
Furthermore, this survey went through rigid data verification and a professionally accredited panel provision ensures that the margin of error in the total data for each country is no more than +/-3% – means that this data (collected by over 240K participants) can be considered one of the most accurate measures of how many music creators are out there.
So what’s the bottom line? Well let’s extrapolate the numbers:
By combining the percentages taken from their survey and combining it with the actual population of each country we can estimate the total number of music creators out there:
- Thailand: Population: 69.8 million, Percentage: 23%, Music Creators: 16.06 million
- Saudi Arabia: Population: 34.8 million, Percentage: 22%, Music Creators: 7.65 million
- Turkey: Population: 82 million, Percentage: 20%, Music Creators: 16.4 million
- Philippines: Population: 111.4 million, Percentage: 19%, Music Creators: 21.15 million
- UAE (United Arab Emirates): Population: 9.9 million, Percentage: 17%, Music Creators: 1.68 million
- South Africa: Population: 59.6 million, Percentage: 17%, Music Creators: 10.12 million
- Indonesia: Population: 276.4 million, Percentage: 17%, Music Creators: 46.92 million
- USA (United States): Population: 331 million, Percentage: 17%, Music Creators: 56.27 million
- Vietnam: Population: 98.7 million, Percentage: 16%, Music Creators: 15.79 million
- Egypt: Population: 104.1 million, Percentage: 16%, Music Creators: 16.66 million
- Australia: Population: 25.7 million, Percentage: 15%, Music Creators: 3.86 million
- Mexico: Population: 126.2 million, Percentage: 14%, Music Creators: 17.67 million
- Brazil: Population: 213.9 million, Percentage: 14%, Music Creators: 29.95 million
- Poland: Population: 37.9 million, Percentage: 14%, Music Creators: 5.3 million
- Israel: Population: 9.3 million, Percentage: 14%, Music Creators: 1.3 million
- Singapore: Population: 5.7 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 0.74 million
- Canada: Population: 38 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 4.94 million
- Switzerland: Population: 8.7 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 1.13 million
- Malaysia: Population: 32.9 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 4.28 million
- Austria: Population: 8.9 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 1.16 million
- Germany: Population: 83.8 million, Percentage: 13%, Music Creators: 10.88 million
- Sweden: Population: 10.4 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 1.25 million
- UK (United Kingdom): Population: 67.1 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 8.05 million
- France: Population: 67.1 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 8.05 million
- Italy: Population: 60.4 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 7.25 million
- Spain: Population: 47 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 5.64 million
- Netherlands: Population: 17.6 million, Percentage: 12%, Music Creators: 2.11 million
- Greece: Population: 10.4 million, Percentage 12%, Music Creators 1.24 million
- Ireland: Population: 4.9 million, Percentage: 11%, Music Creators: 0.54 million
- Belgium: Population: 11.6 million, Percentage: 11%, Music Creators: 1.28 million
- Portugal: Population: 10.2 million, Percentage: 11%, Music Creators: 1.12 million
- Hong Kong: Population: 7.5 million, Percentage: 11%, Music Creators: 0.82 million
- Denmark: Population: 5.8 million, Percentage: 11%, Music Creators: 0.64 million
- New Zealand: Population: 4.9 million, Percentage: 10%, Music Creators: 0.49 million
- Romania: Population: 19.4 million, Percentage: 10%, Music Creators: 1.94 million
- Argentina: Population: 45.3 million, Percentage: 9%, Music Creators: 4.08 million
- Taiwan: Population: 23.6 million, Percentage: 9%, Music Creators: 2.12 million
- South Korea: Population: 51.8 million, Percentage: 8%, Music Creators: 4.14 million
- Japan: Population: 126.3 million, Percentage: 7%, Music Creators: 8.84 million
- Czech Republic: Population: 10.7 million, Percentage: 7%, Music Creators: 0.75 million
Adding up all of the Music Creator population, we get a whopping 307.93 million self-identifying music creators in those 40 countries alone!
Considering the fact that the listed countries constitute approximately 30.13% of the world's population, this number is in reality likely closer to the 400 million total music creators out there – and growing!
What does this mean for you?
In today's saturated music landscape, it has become harder than ever to get your music heard and make a mark as a creator. With millions of music creators vying for attention, standing out from the crowd requires a well-thought-out strategy and investment in data-driven approaches. It's no longer enough to simply create and release music; you must understand your target audience, analyze trends, and leverage technology like SongTools to your advantage.
Remember, success as a music creator is no longer solely dependent on talent alone; it's about your ability to navigate the digital landscape, harness data, and make meaningful connections with your audience. Embrace the challenge, stay innovative, and let your passion for music drive you forward on the path to success.